50 animation tools and resources for digital learners — from teachthought.com by Lisa Chesser, opencolleges.edu.au

Excerpt:

Some of the animation links cataloged here will give educators very basic tools and histories of animation while others have the animation already created and set in motion, it’s just a matter of sharing it with students. Educators need to decide which tool is best for them. If you want to create your own animation from scratch, then you want to go to sites such as Animwork. If you want to select from an animation that’s already set up, for you then perhaps Explainia makes more sense. One of the easiest ways to animate, however, isn’t with your own camera and modeling clay, it’s with your links to sites that hand you everything within their own forums. Use the first part of this list for creating original animation or using animation tools to create lessons. Use the second part to select animated lessons that are already completed and set to share.

 

 

 

VR Lab! — from thejournal.com by Joshua Bolkan

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

When Tampa Preparatory School launched decided to turn a closet into a virtual reality lab, they had no idea how far their students would run with the tools, but that’s exactly what they did, sitting down to build their own educational apps to help visualize concepts in astronomy, chemistry and physics. In addition to the educational apps, built by students on their own initiative, the VR lab is also used for art classes and more.

Chad Lewis, director of technology at Tampa Prep, recently sat down with THE Journal to talk about the school’s experience with VR as an educational tool.

Tell me a little about having students design their own VR apps. Are there any benefits to it that surprised you?

Chad Lewis: Some surprising benefits included branching out beyond computer science into areas like chemistry and physics. This is an example of the amazing things students can do if given the opportunity to pursue their passions. They need time, space and resources as well as support and encouragement. 

 

 

The main thing is that they’re learning coding, 3D modeling, game development, collaboration, design thinking, etc.

 

 

 

 

In the process, one of our computer science students came up to me and said, “Mr. Lewis do you mind if I try to create some virtual reality apps using Unity?” and it really took off from there. The lab was a student-driven initiative.

 

 

 

Design Thinking: A Quick Overview — from interaction-design.org by Rikke Dam and Teo Siang

Excerpt:

To begin, let’s have a quick overview of the fundamental principles behind Design Thinking:

  • Design Thinking starts with empathy, a deep human focus, in order to gain insights which may reveal new and unexplored ways of seeing, and courses of action to follow in bringing about preferred situations for business and society.
  • It involves reframing the perceived problem or challenge at hand, and gaining perspectives, which allow a more holistic look at the path towards these preferred situations.
  • It encourages collaborative, multi-disciplinary teamwork to leverage the skills, personalities and thinking styles of many in order to solve multifaceted problems.
  • It initially employs divergent styles of thinking to explore as many possibilities, deferring judgment and creating an open ideations space to allow for the maximum number of ideas and points of view to surface.
  • It later employs convergent styles of thinking to isolate potential solution streams, combining and refining insights and more mature ideas, which pave a path forward.
  • It engages in early exploration of selected ideas, rapidly modelling potential solutions to encourage learning while doing, and allow for gaining additional insight into the viability of solutions before too much time or money has been spent
  • Tests the prototypes which survive the processes further to remove any potential issues.
  • Iterates through the various stages, revisiting empathetic frames of mind and then redefining the challenge as new knowledge and insight is gained along the way.
  • It starts off chaotic and cloudy steamrolling towards points of clarity until a desirable, feasible and viable solution emerges.

 

 

From DSC:
This post includes information about popular design thinking frameworks. I think it’s a helpful posting for those who have heard about design thinking but want to know more about it.

 

 

What is Design Thinking?
Design thinking is an iterative process in which we seek to understand the user, challenge assumptions we might have, and redefine problems in an attempt to identify alternative strategies and solutions that might not be instantly apparent with our initial level of understanding. As such, design thinking is most useful in tackling problems that are ill-defined or unknown.

Design thinking is extremely useful in tackling ill-defined or unknown problems—it reframes the problem in human-centric ways, allows the creation of many ideas in brainstorming sessions, and lets us adopt a hands-on approach in prototyping and testing. Design thinking also involves on-going experimentation: sketching, prototyping, testing, and trying out concepts and ideas. It involves five phases: Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test. The phases allow us to gain a deep understanding of users, critically examine the assumptions about the problem and define a concrete problem statement, generate ideas for tackling the problem, and then create prototypes for the ideas in order to test their effectiveness.

Design thinking is not about graphic design but rather about solving problems through the use of design. It is a critical skill for allprofessionals, not only designers. Understanding how to approach problems and apply design thinking enables everyone to maximize our contributions in the work environment and create incredible, memorable products for users.

 

 

 

 

Innovative classroom furnishings encourage creativity and collaboration — from educationdive.com by Amelia Harper

 

 

Dive Brief:

  • Teachers in Long Island’s Baldwin Schools have been invited to apply for funds to redesign their classroom space as a way to encourage innovation and are reinvigorating their own personal teaching styles along the way, according to The Hechinger Report.
  • Ann Marie Lynam, a middle school teacher who works with students ranging from those with special needs students to the academically advanced, finds that a multifunction, mobile classroom with a variety of comfortable seating options has forced her to become more innovative in her teaching style and encourages collaborative efforts that rely more on conversation and less on technology.
  • Tricia Wilder, a kindergarten teacher at a nearby school, redesigned her space with flexible seating and a “theater nook” that encourages creative play and has also added more technology to the classroom to facilitate individualized instruction.

 

 

 

 

 

Better Brainstorming — from hbr.org by Hal Gregersen

Excerpt:

Brainstorming for questions, not answers, wasn’t something I’d tried before.

Underlying the approach is a broader recognition that fresh questions often beget novel—even transformative—insights. Consider this example from the field of psychology: Before 1998 virtually all well-trained psychologists focused on attacking the roots of mental disorders and deficits, on the assumption that well-being came down to the absence of those negative conditions. But then Martin Seligman became president of the American Psychological Association, and he reframed things for his colleagues. What if, he asked in a speech at the APA’s annual meeting, well-being is just as driven by the presence of certain positive conditions—keys to flourishing that could be recognized, measured, and cultivated? With that question, the positive psychology movement was born.

Brainstorming for questions rather than answers makes it easier to push past cognitive biases and venture into uncharted territory.


The methodology I’ve developed is essentially a process for recasting problems in valuable new ways. It helps people adopt a more creative habit of thinking and, when they’re looking for breakthroughs, gives them a sense of control. There’s actually something they can do other than sit and wait for a bolt from the blue. Here, I’ll describe how and why this approach works. You can use it anytime you (in a group or individually) are feeling stuck or trying to imagine new possibilities. And if you make it a regular practice in your organization, it can foster a stronger culture of collective problem solving and truth seeking.

 

 

 

Very clever designs! Some serious creativity here! 

From DSC:
NOTE: I’ve never been to this site before, but I saw the clever QWERTY image on Pinterest, which lead me to this page. What if more of our learning spaces — and/or perhaps our playgrounds — featured this level of creativity, color, innovative design, passion, beauty, and energy?

Some examples:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 GREAT Makerspace Practices That You Need to See — from worlds-of-learning.com by Laura Fleming

Excerpt:

One of the goals of my newest book, The Kickstart Guide to Making GREAT Makerspaces, was to highlight best practices in makerspaces around the world.  Since the book’s publication, I have continued to see many people creating not just makerspaces, but GREAT makerspaces.  I honestly could write another book based on all of the amazing things I am seeing happening, but wanted to share with you in this post, 6 that recently have stood out to me.

 

 

 

 

 

The Future of Design, Part II — from 99u.adobe.com by Madeleine Morley; with thanks to Keesa V. Johnson for posting this on Twitter
For the second straight year, we asked 10 creatives to predict what is coming up in the world of design and how they will prepare for it. This year’s installment includes designing for voice-controlled tech, holograms, and the rise of the hybrid designer.

 

Design is always changing, and wider changes are often spearheaded by design itself. Now with tech and the creative industry increasingly aligning, we’re on the precipice of a truly momentous period in the history of design, something unprecedented that is difficult to predict and prepare for.

 

Excerpts:

With quickly evolving tools, tumultuous shifts in the economy, the relentless growth of the gig and freelance lifestyle, and global networks, the working landscape for young designers is a tremendously uncertain one. There’s no model to follow: The known and well-trodden career path of previous generations is overgrown.

It’s an uncertain time for design, but in its difficulty and complexity, it is an inspiring and crucial one: Those with the skills will help decide the way that innovations in tech not only look but function, too, and influence our daily lives.

Although we can’t predict the future, we can speak to those with experience who think about what’s in store. We asked each participant to give us their advice: What does their future of design look like? What will it do to the very idea of design. And how can we prepare for it?

 

Design will be for ears and not eyes.

 

We’re always getting our heads around designing for the latest technology, methodology, application, media, or format. It’s a fascinating time to be a designer. There will always be space for experts, for those who specialize in the things they are really, really good at, but for others there is the need to diversify.

 

We won’t tell stories; we’ll live them.

 

 

 

From Elliott Masie’s Learning TRENDS – January 3, 2018.
#986 – Updates on Learning, Business & Technology Since 1997.

2. Curation in Action – Meural Picture Frame of Endless Art. 
What a cool Curation Holiday Gift that arrived.  The Meural Picture Frame is an amazing digital display, 30 inches by 20 inches, that will display any of over 10,000 classical or modern paintings or photos from the world’s best museums.

A few minutes of setup to the WiFi and my Meural became a highly personalized museum in the living room.  I selected collections of an era, a specific artist, a theme or used someone else’s art “playlist”.

It is curation at its best!  A personalized and individualized selection from an almost limitless collection.  Check it out at http://www.meural.com

 



Also see:



 

Discover new art every day with Meural

 

 

Discover new artwork with Meural -- you can browse playlists of artwork and/or add your own

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
As I understand it, you can upload your own artwork and photography into this platform. As such, couldn’t we put such devices/frames in schools?!

Wouldn’t it be great to have each classroom’s artwork available as a playlist?! And not just the current pieces, but archived pieces as well!

Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to walk down the hall and swish through a variety of pieces?

Wouldn’t such a dynamic, inspirational platform be a powerful source of creativity in our hallways?  The frames could display the greatest works of art from around the world!

Wouldn’t such a platform give young/budding artists and photographers incentive to do their best work, knowing many others can see their creative works as a part of a playlist?

Wouldn’t it be cool to tap into such a service and treasure chest of artwork and photography via your Smart/Connected TV?

Here’s to creativity!

 

 

 

 

 

 

How a Flipped Syllabus, Twitter and YouTube Made This Professor Teacher of the Year — from edsurge.com by Bruce Anderson

Excerpt:

A few years after John Boyer began teaching world geography at Virginia Tech, a survey revealed that 58 percent of college-aged Americans could not locate Japan on a map. Sixty-nine percent could not find the United Kingdom.

Boyer raced ahead undaunted. He loved the scope and implications of his subject. “The great thing about geography is . . . everything happens somewhere,” he explains. “Geography is the somewhere.”

Boyer is now a senior instructor and researcher at Virginia Tech. He took over World Regions, an entry-level geography class, while he was working on a master’s degree nearly 20 years ago. The class then had 50 students. Now the course is offered each semester and a whopping 3,000 students take it in any given school year.

What has made it so popular? Innovative pedagogy, for starters. Boyer uses a “flipped syllabus” in which students’ final grades are based on the points they’ve earned—not lost—throughout the semester. His legendary assignments range from reviewing films to tweeting on behalf of world leaders (more on that below). Mostly, Boyer himself has made the class a rite of passage for undergraduates, who typically find him funny, passionate, and consummately engaging. Boyer even created a comic alter ego called the Plaid Avenger, who has narrated textbooks and podcasts but is now largely retired—though Boyer still sports his famous plaid jackets and drives a plaid Scion.

 

 

Given the disparity in knowledge levels as well as the disparity in what they like to do in terms of work, whether that be watching international film or writing papers, I wanted to increase the flexibility of what the students could do to achieve a grade in this class.

 

 

Tell us about the Twitter World Leaders.
You can choose to be a true, real world leader. Of course, they’re fake accounts and we make sure everyone knows you’re the fake Donald Trump or the fake Angela Merkel of Germany. Once you take on that role, you will tweet as the world leader for the entire semester, and you have to tweet two to three times a day. And it’s not silly stuff. What is the chancellor of Germany working on right now? What other world leaders is Angela Merkel meeting with? What’s going on in Germany or the EEU?

 

 

 

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